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Former Bigot

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"I killed two guys, Danny, I killed them. And it didn't make me feel any different. It just got me more lost and I'm tired of being pissed off, Danny. I'm just tired of it."

"In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"
George Wallace, 1963

"I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over."
George Wallace, 1979

A character used to be a bigot (either to a specific group or every other group). Maybe they grew up in an environment where people have similar views. Maybe they were wronged by said group. Maybe they simply think their group is the best there is and look down on others. The bigot-target group may be Always Chaotic Evil.

But after some time, they stop holding such views. It may either happen in the past (i.e. as a backstory), or as a Character Development in the present.

Maybe the character witnesses the bigot-target group's good qualities (especially if the character was young and/or an Innocent Bigot). Maybe a member of said group helped them when they needed it, often despite what the bigoted person might do or say to their people. Maybe they realize that being a bigot harms them in the long run and they may need help from said group. They might also find out that said group is Not Always Evil.

Compare I Hate Past Me, The Atoner, Old Shame, and Reformed Bully. Contrast Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up. May result in a Zombie Advocate when they outright argue in favor of the group's humanity (if it's a group of a fantastic race).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In One Piece, Nami used to be a Tragic Bigot towards fishmen because they were heavily involved in her Dark and Troubled Past. But after hearing the story of the slavery of fishmen from Hatchan and later, the story of Jinbe's late boss Fisher Tiger and late mermaid queen Otohime who fought for fishmen's rights in different ways, she has a change of heart and she renounces all of her hate towards fishmen, except for the likes of Arlong.

    Comic Books 
  • Runaways
    • Chase was originally mildly homophobic, but gradually became less so after Karolina came out as a lesbian, to the point where, by the end of the second series, he was even trying to make friends with Karolina's fiancée Xavin.
    • Xavin was originally an extremely chauvinistic Skrull. Their relationship with Karolina forced them to confront their chauvinism, to the point that, during Secret Invasion (2008), they officially turned against the Skrull Empire.
    • Klara at one point had issues with either homosexuality or miscegenation (she's from the past, so possibly both), expressing disgust at the site of Xavin and Karolina kissing. She got over it pretty quickly, and more recently was Happily Adopted by a gay couple.

    Fan Works 
  • In RWBY: Scars, Weiss' snappy comments about Faunus are exaggerated into outright Fantastic Racism towards them. Most of this stems from her environment growing up and an attempt at placing the blame of her father's abuse elsewhere rather than on her dad. After joining Beacon and being teamed up with Blake (who is a cat Faunus herself), Weiss' views quickly change. After falling for Blake, Weiss becomes interested in Faunus rights herself.
  • The South Park fan fic My Super Best Friend takes place after Heidi Turner breaks up Eric Cartman in Season 21 of the main show upon realizing his influence caused her to adopt several of Cartman's traits, including his bigoted views. Part of this story focuses on her taking a level in kindness where she becomes a remorseful Nice Girl who no longer shares Cartman's bigotry and is trying to make amends for the all people she mocked, Kyle Broflovski in particular. Unfortunately for Heidi, Kyle is very reluctant to trust her again, not knowing on whether her previously expressions of bigotry was just her merely imitating Cartman or if all the things she said was how she truly felt about everything and everyone she insulted.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug story A Small but Stubborn Fire, Rolland makes up with Sabine and apologizes for his past behavior with her. Even going as far as to say he is sorry in Shanghainese. And it is all thanks to Marinette’s efforts to connect with him that got him to see past his old ways. Sabine is grateful for this as no one, including her own mother, has ever apologized to her for hurting her so badly in the past.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In American History X, Derek became the leader of a Neo-Nazi movement after his father was murdered by a black drug dealer. After serving a prison sentence for the revenge killing of a black home invader, and enduring a gang rape at the hands of the Aryan Brotherhood, Derek renounces his old ways after an old mentor leads him to an epiphany about his actions. When he gets out of prison, he also helps his brother Danny to break free from the movement before Danny is murdered for a wholly separate incident by a teenager with ties to the local Crips chapter. Tragically, the alternate ending shows Derek shaving his head again.
  • In Captain Marvel (2019), Vers is a loyal, dedicated member of the Kree Starforce, helping the Kree Empire hunt down Skrulls until she learns that she's actually a human who was kidnapped and brainwashed by the Kree. After learning this, and learning that the Skrulls are refugees from the Kree's genocidal campaign, she turns against the Kree Empire and helps the Skrulls find a new homeworld.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Kurt Bunker from Banshee is a former skinhead and member of the Aryan Brotherhood who does a complete 180 and joins the Banshee Sheriff's Department as a deputy and directly fights his former compatriots including his brother. He even has a speech memorised to give people who notice his Neo-Nazi tattoos disavowing his former beliefs.
  • Joshua Nolan in Defiance was a war criminal in the past and was extremely open about his Fantastic Racism against Votans. You'd never know it, nowadays; it's implied that adopting the orphaned Irisa mellowed him out a bit.
  • A new prison guard working with the Aryan gang in Oz tries to claim to be this when another prison official notices his swastika tattoo, but his behavior since being hired has been too obvious and nobody buys the excuse.
  • In the French Police Procedural P.J. (also called C.I.D.), Chloe Matthieu starts off as a member of a far-right police union, with an uncle who is in an unnamed Front National expy. She expresses hatred for gay people, immigrants, Arabs, Muslims... basically, anyone who isn't white, French, and Christian. Over the course of the series, she starts developing friendships with non-white people, eventually has a child with a black man, gets a part-time job in a lesbian bar, has a bisexual colleague look after her child while she's at work, and gradually comes to realize that most of her old beliefs are evil and repugnant.
  • Archie Bunker from All in the Family became this over the course of the series. While he still held some outdated views, he became more accepting of others. He actually quit a club he was part of who held similar racist views when they insulted Archie's black maid.
  • In the Proven Innocent episode "Cross to Bear", Madeline takes on the case of a former white supremacist who was framed for the murder of a black man. He claims to have renounced his former beliefs, but it's left ambiguous whether he actually did, causing tensions between Maddie and her black associates, who are understandably uncomfortable with defending him.
  • John Pilgrim from season 2 of The Punisher (2017). He started as a murderous Aryan Brotherhood thug before finding religion and turning his back on them. Unfortunately for him, he wound up with a Corrupt Church, so he's still a murderous thug, just a reluctant non-racist one.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Christie Ricci initially came into Mexico declaring war against "All Lucha Libres!" and Dark Angel was part of an Un Mexican Power Stable in IWRG. Ricci ended up being accepted by the fans in spite of this, quickly underwent a Heel–Face Turn and dated a luchador, whom she remained on good terms with even after dumping him for being "high maintenance". Angel got a house in Mexico City, cut ties with the stable and even joined a pro Mexican group in Puerto Rico...which happened to hate Puerto Ricans
  • Teodore Long used to hate how white people held down wrestlers like D'Lo Brown, and ended up getting rid of Brown for not hating white people enough and starting a stable of people who (supposedly)did with Rodney Mack, Mark Henry and Jazz. However, Long let the white boy Christopher Nowinski join "Thuggin And Buggin Enterprises" on request after Nowinski argued that he understood and empathized with the discrimination all people, including black people, endure. After spending time with Nowinski Long would embrace the philosophies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr(except for the non violence part) and manage more white wrestlers(again) such as Mark Jindrak.
  • While on excursion to CMLL from All Japan Pro Wrestling, Shigeo Okumura hated everything he experienced and started a movement against all things Mexican called "La Ola Amarilla". His campaign was so important he remained in Mexico as all the other Japanese wrestlers returned to their home promotions so as to organize more anti Mexican action when more Japanese men inevitably arrived. He stayed in Mexico so long he speaking about the inferiority of Mexicans that he not only started speaking Spanish, but did so with a Mexican accent! And slowly, ever so slowly, he found himself growing to like Mexicans, starting with his former translator Black Warrior, who loyally stuck by Okumura until he could speak for himself. To a lesser extent, this applies to most other wrestlers swept up in his Ola Amarilla such as Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura and Tetsuya Naito, but most of them actually got over it quicker than Okumura did.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout:
  • Khelgar from Neverwinter Nights 2 initially has a low opinion of his companions Neeshka and Elanee because they're a Tiefling (a Human-Demon Hybrid) and a Wood Elf respectively. He also wants to become a monk in the service of Tyr, and part of his trial to do so involves undergoing enough Character Development to see them as Fire-Forged Friends and learn to judge people by their actions rather than their race.
  • Ysuran Auondril from Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II was once an elf supremacist and member of the terrorist organization Eldreth Veluuthra, but a magical accident left him with Amnesiac Dissonance, and the new personality he created to replace his old one possessed none of his former prejudices, only a strange desire to help everyone around him. He can eventually regain his memories of his old life, but swears off all connection to it in disgust.
  • In Senran Kagura, Kurokage spent most of his life killing all "evil" (read: mercenary) shinobi in the name of justice, before realizing that most of them were only working for the money they needed to get by (and since shinobi code dictates that all shinobi battles must be to the death, well...). After that, he tried to keep his students/adopted daughters from making the same mistakes he had and eventually succeeded.
  • XO Charles Pressly's diaries in Mass Effect 2 reveal that his xenophobic views on the aliens made a complete U-turn after tackling the Sovereign crisis shoulder-to-shoulder with them. Too bad he was killed soon after.
  • Wakka from Final Fantasy X is a devout follower of the religion of Yevon, and harbors an intense dislike of the Al Bhed, a heathen group who defy the Yevonite taboo against technology. He starts to reconsider his views after seeing Yevonites committing atrocities against the Al Bhed city of Home, learning that one of his best friends, Yuna, is half-Al Bhed on her mother's side, and realising that several high-ranking Yevon officials are Hypocrites who don't follow the rules they preach to others. By the time of the sequel, he shows a new-found tolerance for the Al Bhed by naming his newborn child Vidina, the Al Bhed word for "Future".
  • Yes, Your Grace: King Eryk can become more accepting toward the Radovians, the Fantastic Racism induced enemy from the game's two first acts, in the third. Two plot threads encourage this: this first involves a potential ally that will only help Eryk during the final siege if he helps Radovians every chance he gets, the second letting his daughter run off with the Radovian girl she's in love with.
  • Kormac the Templar from Diablo III begins the game as a Noble Bigot, considering the Witch Doctor and Barbarian to be uncultured savages but willing to travel and fight alongside them if they request his assistance. Towards the end of the game, he will express gratitude that his time spent alongside the heroes has given him cause to challenge his own prejudices.

    Web Animation 
  • Weiss from RWBY starts off as a Troubled Sympathetic Bigot towards Faunus due to her family's history with the White Fang, though she grows out of it over the course of the first three volumes. By the time volume 6 rolls around, she's usually the first person to speak up whenever someone directs a racist comment at Blake.

    Western Animation 
  • Played for Laughs in America: The Motion Picture, as Samuel Adams is portrayed as a rude, xenophobic Frat Bro throughout the film but proudly proclaims that he's no longer racist shortly before the climactic battle. George Washington then declares him to be America's "no longer racist" Honorary Uncle, making him Uncle Sam.
  • Zig-Zagged on Family Guy with Brian, who is quite proud of his progressive/liberal/what-have-you views, but also barks at black people he doesn't know just because they're black.
    Brian: Oh, oh, oh, God. Oh, God. I am so sorry. I keep doing that. Oh, God, please, please forgive me. I get that from my father. He's from a different generation. It's, uh...
    Puff Daddy: Whatever, man.
    Brian: We, we cool? We good?
    Puff Daddy: Yeah, we're cool. Fine.
    Brian: growls
  • In Gargoyles, Princess Katherine had shared the same fear and suspicion towards the gargoyles that protect Castle Wyvern as the rest of her court (sans the Captain) since she was a child, mainly due to her father using them as a bogeyman for her to behave. It is not until Goliath saved her and her people from Hakon and learned the most of the Wyvern Clan had been destroyed does she vow to protect the clans' unhatched eggs, Goliath wishing to join the only remaining members of his clan after having been trapped in stone by the Archmage's spell after. She would go on to protect the eggs alongside the Archmage and the orphan Tom before they hatched within the safety of Avalon, and would go on to raise them as her children. Considering one of these gargoyles - Angela - strongly believes that humans and gargoyles can live in peace and harmony together, she was likely a good parent regardless of their differing species.
  • One episode of Men in Black: The Series had a time-traveling bigot trying to make sure the Men in Black never existed by killing the founders because of his hatred of aliens. He's eventually neuralized by J, who instructs him to stop being such a racist jackass, and then sucked back in time. In an ironic twist, the ending reveals that he wound up becoming one of the founders of the Men in Black thanks to the mindwipe.
  • The Static Shock Very Special Episode "Sons of the Fathers" introduced Richie's Fantasy-Forbidding Father Sean, a blue-collar conservative Angry White Man who disliked change and used black people as a scapegoat for his grievances with society. After Virgil's Reasonable Authority Figure father gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech highlighting that he's letting his hangups drive his son away, he becomes more accepting of people and things unfamiliar to him. He makes a cameo in the Christmas Episode later on, happily sitting beside Virgil's black family.

    Real Life 
  • As quoted at the top, George Wallace was one of the most notorious pro-segregation politicians in the 1960s, running for Governor of Alabama on an explicitly pro-segregation platform. In the late 1970s, after having become paralyzed in an assassination attempt while seeking the Democratic nomination for President in 1972 and becoming a Born-Again Christian, Wallace declared that he no longer believed in segregation, and renounced his past support for it.
    • Notably, when Wallace ran for his fourth and final (non-consecutive) term as Alabama Governornote  in 1982, Wallace effectively campaigned as The Atoner, seeking to make up for his past support of segregation. It was a pledge Wallace would make good on, appointing a record number of blacks to state positions, including having 2 black members of the State Cabinet at the same time.
    • It's worth noting some have suggested that Wallace's racism in the 1960's was more politically motivated than sincere, as he mounted a failed 1958 bid for governor as a moderate on race issues and was defeated, which may have driven him to take a more opportunistic stance.
      • Ironically, Wallace's opponent in the 1958 election, John Patterson, would go on to endorse Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Like Wallace, Patterson claimed that his stance on segregation was based on political expediency instead of personal beliefs.
  • Strom Thurmond infamously conducted the longest speaking filibuster by an American senator ever in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and opposed other civil rights bills in The '60s. However, starting in The '70s, he moderated his position on race. Notably, in 1983 he was instrumental in making Martin Luther King Day a national holiday which he viewed in part as a way to atone for his past support for segregation.
  • On a similar note, Robert Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and a staunch opponent of integration. But he later renounced his past racism, including his Klan membership and his former position on segregation. Unlike the above two examples, Byrd remained in office long enough to work with the first African-American president of the United States.
  • H. P. Lovecraft was infamous for his powerful fear and disgust for anything outside the limited sphere of an urban White Anglo-Saxon Protestant of his time, as he was agoraphobic and suffered from severe anxiety. He more or less grew past his prejudices (even marrying a Jewish woman) and came to believe that all races were equal, but shouldn't mix due to cultural incompatibilities (which was still somewhat progressive for his time period).
  • Malcolm X rose to fame (and notoriety) as the public face of the black supremacist organization known as the Nation of Islam. But after returning from his Hajj and seeing true racial harmony and equality in action, he repudiated the Nation of Islam and his former racist views. Unfortunately, this resulted in his death as the Nation didn't take kindly to his abandonment.
  • Life After Hate is an organization dedicated to supporting those leaving Neo-Nazi movements and ending violent extremism.
  • Bryon Widner was a former skinhead who left the movement after becoming a father. He was especially famous for the extensive tattoo removal procedures he underwent after turning his life around, a story that became the subject of the 2018 biopic film Skin.
  • Theo Haser, a former Nazi who converted to Judaism and has dedicated his life to educating others about the Holocaust.